Learn from our Brook, not just a book!Posted by Craig Knebel
The 6th grade science class took the lesson outside to come up with a definition of Erosion without looking at a textbook! They investigated evidence of erosion in our own Horse Tavern Brook on the The Unquowa School campus. Students sketched what they saw, then investigated the areas they had drawn. They were encouraged to just be kids – to discover, to ask why and how! Sometimes, a science lesson can purely just be about exploring!!!
Unquowa Students Travel to the Land of Chief Myanos to Study the EarthPosted by Craig Knebel
The 6th grade Earth Science class got a close look at the glacially formed valley known the Mianus River Gorge. This gorge was cut during the Wisconsin Ice pack from 50,000 to 15,000 years ago. Students learned that the metamorphic bedrock visible on the trails was compressed during the time of supercontinents when today’s North America slammed into what became modern Europe. Students hiked in brilliant fall weather 2.5 miles to a mica and pegmatite quarry from the 1800’s. The mica was a cheap replacement for glass in huts and later on, the pegmatite was used in ceramic bathroom’s in the 1800’s. The land takes its name from the Wappinger Confederacy chief Myanos, who was killed near the gorge in 1683.
Trolleys at the ShorePosted by Maureen Diallo
First grade traveled along with PreK and TK to the Shoreline Trolley Museum for a morning of history and fun. The Shoreline Trolley Museum has the oldest continuously running suburban trolley line in the USA! As a preview to 1st grade’s upcoming unit in social studies called “Change Over Time,” the class made comparisons about transportation then and now as we rode along one and a half miles in the Shoreline’s vintage trolley car! Mr. Paul, the conductor, gave us a glimpse into what life was life traveling from one place to another. We also learned how the trolley car changed directions on the line without even turning around! Each student got to pick a pumpkin out of the festive Halloween trolley barn! Many thanks to the Shoreline Trolley Museum and to Ms. Palm for inviting us to come along!
Life Science Studies Living Things at The Audubon Center’s WetlandsPosted by Craig Knebel
The 7th grade students took classroom learning into the field and stream literally, to examine the health of three wetlands ecosystems at the Fairfield Audubon. In this high school level experience, students captured macro-invertebrates and judged the health of the wetland by the organisms they found. Lots of pollution tolerant leeches would have indicated an unhealthy wetland, while more pollution intolerant resident indicate a healthy wetland. In the healthiest stream student found crayfish and turtles and fish that actually feed on the macro-invertebrates.
The Write Bite!Posted by Ariel Warshaw
Kicking off our Writing Seminar, fifth graders were asked to find inspiration using their five senses. How can we describe what we’re hearing? How does that caterpillar feel in our palm? Can you describe the sound of the wind? What does that freshly pickled onion do to your taste buds? What about that velvety caramel?
Writers enjoyed two different sensory experiences. Our first Sensory Write invited students outside to experience their craft al fresco! Students sat in our garden, perched on tree stumps, strolled along the babbling brook, and enjoyed a quiet moment on Mrs. Shannon’s Bridge. In each of these places, they documented the sensations they experienced. Some students snacked on just-picked bell peppers, while others munched on mint. They wrote about the various flavors they encountered and the memories they conjured up. Others watched butterflies flutter on the coneflowers, and created tales about what flight might feel like for those winged creatures.
Our second Sensory Write took place in the Unquowa Kitchen! Chef Jess prepared tasting platters for the students, filled with flavors that both enticed and challenged. What are the perfect words for describing an apple? How can we stretch our descriptions to better illustrate what we are sensing? Is that dip creamy and tantalizing, or bland and slimy? The fifth grade writers loved describing unexpected flavor combinations, too! How would you describe a corn chip slathered in caramel sauce? Is what you are tasting or smelling stirring a storyline?
Both sensory writing experiences opened up a conversation around showing, rather than telling, our readers about what we are sensing. Students considered the perfect words to capture each authentic moment. These skills will spiral throughout our year together in Writing Seminar, and will serve us well as we move on to our narrative writing unit.
Working Together on the River!Posted by Lloyd Mitchell
Our 7th and 8th graders kicked off the school year with the 5th annual opening rafting trip! Students ventured up to Charlemont, Massachusetts, geared up for rafting and rowed down 7 miles of Deerfield River with class 1,2 and 3 rapids. While many were nervous on the way up, it was all smiles on the way back. This opening trip sets the tone for the year and this year looks to be fantastic!